Actor and comedian Cedric the Entertainer is best known for bringing hearty laughs to millions of viewers as one of the original Kings of Comedy. Now the “Soul Man” star is using his celebrity to bring awareness for a medical condition that affects millions, including his beloved father: diabetic peripheral neuropathy.
Diabetes affects more than 29 million Americans, nearly 8 million of whom are unaware they have the condition. Over time, about half of patients with diabetes will develop nerve damage, a painful condition known as diabetic neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy is the most common form of diabetic neuropathy and affects hands, feet, legs and arms.
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The pain associated with diabetic neuropathy can be difficult to describe, explains Dr. Freda Lewis-Hall, chief medical officer for Pfizer. Nearly 81 percent of patients with the condition say it’s unlike anything else they’ve experienced before.
Symptoms of diabetic neuropathy include:
- Pain, which is sometimes described as shooting, stabbing, tingling, burning, throbbing, radiating, or electric shock-like pins and needles
- Sensitivity to touch
Additionally, patients may notice symptoms become worse at night.
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The condition is caused by prolonged exposure to high blood sugar, which can damage the body’s nerves. Additional causes include high cholesterol, inflammation, and smoking or alcohol abuse.
To prevent or slow the progression of diabetic neuropathy, patients with diabetes should keep their blood sugar well controlled and follow a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise and eating a balanced diet.
Additionally, Dr. Lewis-Hall recommends all diabetes patients take special care of their feet, including regularly cleaning, moisturizing and inspecting them for any injuries, as well as wearing comfortable shoes daily.
“My main reason for getting involved is to advise people they don’t have to suffer in silence,” Cedric the Entertainer explains. He notes that although family members noticed changes in his father’s behavior indicating he was suffering from pain, his father did not complain or seek help right away.
For more information about Step On Up, an educational program developed in part by the American Diabetes Association, please visit StepOnUp.com.
To learn more about diabetic neuropathy, visit GetHealthyStayHealthy.com.
Sponsored by Pfizer.